Choosing a good toothbrush

Your toothbrush is an important investment in your oral health, as you will use it at least twice a day to clean your teeth properly. All toothbrushes are not create equal, however, and there can be a bewildering array available at the shops. Always feel free to speak to your dentist at Loock Dental to find out which type of toothbrush might be the best for your individual oral hygeine needs. For a general starting point, here are our main pointers for choosing a great toothbrush.

Whether you are most concerned about protecting the environment with a toothbrush made from renewable materials, or in having a smart toothbrush that can communicate brushing with an app on your phone, we’ve got some essential criteria you can use to choose a toothbrush with confidence, especially as the array of brushes on the market can be bewildering at times!

Which toothbrushes are best for braces?

If you or your teenaged child have non removable braces or ‘track’s’ you need to be even more scrupulous than ever about keeping your teeth well brushed, so you can remove plaque building up around each bracket or under the wires. It’s important to remember to brush the braces themselves too, without damaging them.

You can look for specially labelled orthodontic toothbrushes or ask your orthodontist for particular advice, but in general, you should be looking for smaller, rounder heads that can reach around your braces, as well as soft bristles, a narrow neck and a comfortable grip.

Electric toothbrushes are great for braces because they have particularly small, round heads, but a well-angled and well shaped manual toothbrush can also do a great job.

Which toothbrushes are best for young kids?

We have covered some aspects of choosing a toothbrush for young children in our post on oral hygiene for kids and for all ages. Electric toothbrushes are not really recommend for children under 3 years old, as they don’t have very good hand control yet.

Size is really important, and while manufacturers label children’s toothbrushes with age ranges, it is important for your to check that the size is not too small or large for your own child.

Softer bristles are best, as young children are often enthusiastic, vigorous brushers and can harm their teeth and gums by brushing too hard with tough bristles.

Bright colours, character toothbrushes and electric toothbrushes are all novelties that can help you encourage a reluctant brusher to start and maintain good oral hygiene habits, but sometimes just getting their favourite colour can be helpful.

Are manual or electric toothbrushes best?

Manual toothbrushes are often gentler on the gums and on your wallet. If money isn’t an issue, then a smart toothbrush with pressure sensors can be a great workaround.

Electric toothbrushes are slightly more effective at thorough cleaning, just remember you might need a little more time and to check on your technique.

Which are the most effective toothbrushes for adults?

Small design features can make a big difference – so look out for angled heads, small enough brush heads and soft enough bristles.

It is important to be able to remove plaque while also being gentle on gums and tooth enamel. Some people assume you want something akin to a scrubbing brush to scrub your teeth clean, but this can cause gum recession and signs of surface abrasion as you get older. If you tend to be a really rough scrubber, then softer bristles might be really important for the long term health of your teeth and gums. If you have sensitive teeth, or gum problems, you might need a particularly soft-bristled toothbrush.

You may not realise the importance of good head and handle design until you accidentally buy a badly-designed toothbrush. Large heads and very straight handles tend to feel uncomfortable in your mouth. This doesn’t mean you need every tiny nuance of expensive toothbrush design, but a smallish or tapered head with an angled neck usually makes for more comfortable brushing and better access to your back molars’ inner surfaces.

When it comes to size and shape, you might have to try a few varieties to see what works best for you.

With anything that goes into your mouth, some people are super sensitive to taste and texture. Some find wood or metal toothbrushes taste nicer than plastic, while others feel the opposite, so it’s important that you work out what works best for you so that you look forward to your daily brushing routine.

Are eco friendly toothbrushes effective?

It is important to change your toothbrush every three months, or when the bristles start to bend out of shape. This can have a negative environmental impact, especially as many plastic toothbrushes are made of mixed plastics and are not recyclable. Electric toothbrushes use even more non-renewable resources, and if they use batteries then they are even more problematic.

There are two ways to get around this. A rechargeable electric toothbrush with replaceable heads is a more eco friendly option, and you can get bamboo manual brushes (a renewable and sustainable material which is also biodegradable) and metal brushes (which are longer-lasting and recyclable).

If you don’t like the taste of wood or metal, then you can get plastic toothbrushes made of recycled plastic and which are fully recyclable. Some of these manual toothbrushes have also got replaceable heads, further reducing environmental impact.

While eco friendly options used to be difficult to find and expensive to buy, they are now easily available choices. Even Checkers now stock affordable eco friendly toothbrushes.

With all this in mind, you need to choose your eco friendly toothbrush according to the same factors you would use for any other toothbrush, to suit your mouth’s unique shape and size, and your particular oral hygiene needs depending on your age and dental concerns like braces, CEREC crowns, dentures or braces.

If you remain unsure whether your toothbrush is the right one for you or your child, consider bringing it along to your next appointment with a Loock dentist or oral hygienist so you can get an expert opinion.

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Marguerite MacRobert

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